Consulting Services

An Overview

Since 1994, Josh Richards / Josh Richards Consulting has been assisting organizations to leverage technology to deliver on underlying business goals. We’ve worked with: 

  • publicly-traded corporate giants (such as Amazon.com, Publicis Groupe, and Lucent Technologies)
  • credit unions representing >$2B of aggregate assets (such as CoastHills Credit Union and SESLOC Federal Credit Union)
  • specialized firms operating in information technology, engineering, manufacturing, architecture, and other fields (such as TechXpress, Taylor & Syfan Consulting Engineers, and Dioptics Medical Products)
  • high-growth entrepreneurs and marketing, e-commerce, and software/SaaS businesses (such as Weedmaps, LEVEL Studios/Rosetta, Auspient, and DIGON Systems)
  • Internet service and telecommunications providers (such as Digital West, The FIX Network, and SLONET Regional Information Access)
  • colleges, schools, and other public sector institutions (such as Cuesta College and Coast Unified School District)
  • among numerous others

Our principal has been building and operating mission critical Internet infrastructure, Internet-based services, and business computing platforms for these types of organizations – and routinely providing a variety of bespoke consulting services – throughout the lifecycle of the substantial investments each has made in their information technology. 

Our work is collaborative. We prefer working with individual entrepreneurs, corporate executives in charge of key technology mandates, technology directors, non-profit directors, and other professional technologists. We emphasize the transfer of skills and processes to the client as much as possible, the streamlining of workflows for ongoing efficiency, and the outsourcing of non-core aspects to best-in-class third-party resources and service providers. 

Although roughly 80% of our annual work is generally for existing clients, it consists predominantly of new project work. Our engagements are usually completed within one to six months. We work only against specific objectives with clearly defined-established outcomes and timing, contributing to client business goals.

Our experience and results indicate that leveraging technology to achieve business goals requires investment in expertise and infrastructure, but just as importantly in processes, workflows, systems, and support structures for upkeep, growth, and adaptation to changing business needs. Sometimes that entails investment in new resources, particularly when changes were previously made without some of these things in mind at the start or if the business has shifted dramatically. Often, however, resources and infrastructure already present are operating sub-optimally and thus this change does not require additional resources, but rather the redeployment of personnel, resources, infrastructure, existing services spend, and capital already invested.

Our Philosophy

Our approaches revolve around a simple idea: Improving the client’s condition.

One of the fundamentals of our success is that even though each engagement is bespoke, we’re able to draw from our work across a wide range of situations, ranging from bootstrapped startup to established corporate giants and from stable for-profit to pre-VC to non-profit. 

The other fundamental of our success is that even though each engagement involves technology in some fashion, we take a business-oriented approach to each engagement and all of the underlying technology work, investments, and advice. 

We refuse work we are unsuitable for, unavailable for, and that is not based on sound underlying business objectives for either us or the client. We’re able to make a positive impact in nearly any engagement we opt to work on, because we are selective about which ones we take on as well as by taking a pragmatic and custom, yet strictly business-oriented approach to each situation.

What We Do

These are just a few examples of the typical client results and projects we’ve been involved with over the years. They highlight specific interventions, not the full range of our work over the years for any of them. In all cases a client worked directly with our principal, Josh Richards. As a solo, bespoke, and independent consultant he, unfortunately, cannot accept every potential engagement that comes his way.

Integrate disparate technology to help launch a new financial service

“Our debit card program is up and running beautifully and we owe that to you.”

Sheri Haynes, President, SLO Credit Union

Help transition an Internet server farm and proprietary web-based application with minimal business disruption

“I just wanted to share how pleased and surprised I am that, now that we’ve been self-hosted for a full day, the sum total of complaints/ issues/ bugs that have been reported to me is (drum roll…) ZERO. We absolutely wouldn’t have gotten there without your talent, creativity, and hard work.”

Marco Walsh, Project Manager, CreateSpace (an Amazon.com company)

Design and deploy an Internet server farm to help launch a new Software-as-a-Service business

“Best investment made in my business to date.”

Kurt Sorensen, Principal, Inflection Network

Design, deploy, manage, and enhance infrastructure to help a Web-based business to grow and evolve

I have known Josh for over ten years, and he is an amazing young man. Josh is bright, energetic, compassionate and highly professional. He has taken care of our ‘server’ since 1997. I can’t imagine having a better person to take care of my business.” 

Nancy Davis, Owner, Omega Math

Help upgrade a mission critical IP network with minimal business disruption

“Your abilities are without question, but I am also always impressed by your thorough planning and execution.” 

“I like that you came with a plan on cut-over day which was well thought out and pre-tested. I especially liked that there seemed to be no fallout or unexpected problems (which I always expect), and that things worked basically flawlessly from the get-go. Besides the obvious benefits from the satisfactory completion of the projects, I’d have to say it’s some of your recommendations.” 

“I really like that you look out for our best interests. As you know, we’ve spent a lot of money with you, and as far as I’m concerned, it was worth it.”

John Baas, CIO, SESLOC Federal Credit Union

Help establish the foundation for continual improvement in security and functionality and transition a nationwide IP network with minimal disruption

“I worked with Josh on a fairly large project for our company. We converted 40 DSL connections with servers in our storage closet to a private MPLS network with our servers residing in their data center. The transition went smooth, deadlines were met, and we had virtually no down time for our users. He did a great job assisting us with the planning and implementation of the project as well as creating (stupid routing tricks) to enable us to migrate seamlessly from a public network to a private one without impacting our users. His solutions were creative and have laid the foundation for our continual improvement in security and functionality.”

Justin Watty, Associate Director of IT, Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes

Improve technology team’s ability to respond to unique IP network and security challenges

 “Josh has helped us with a security breach and multiple network architecture projects. His work is solid and thorough, and he’s easy to work with. We regularly request Josh’s help when we have network architecture challenges.”

Mark Chester, Senior Network Administrator, Web Associates/LEVEL Studios/Rosetta

Isolate underlying causes of poor network performance

“He quickly solved some very technical firewall issues that had other consultants baffled. He’s smart, fast, and he possesses a deep understanding of a wide variety of technical subjects.” 

John Garrigues, IT Director, Dioptics Medical Products

Overcome complex and unusual network / telecommunications problems

“Josh has done excellent work for many years. We hire Josh when no one in our company can figure out complex internetworking issues.” 

Jeff Buckingham, President, Call America Business Communications

Specialized assistance with Cisco network

“Josh was excellent. I would recommend Josh’s services to anyone looking for Cisco expertise.” 

Allen Mapalo, Chief Technology Officer, TechXpress

Helped an Internet marketing services company integrate a newly acquired Software-as-a-Service property

We reverse engineered the infrastructure and application then made enhancements to the web property, provided their staff with assistance as they learned to support the new platform, isolated and addressed bugs, documented key items, improved security, and kept the service on-line as they launched it to a new market. Technologically the platform was LAMP based (Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP) running on Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2).

Analyze compromised e-commerce web site

For a web development firm we analyzed the impact and underlying cause of a client’s compromised e-commerce web site. We identified the source of the security incident, assessed the site for further vulnerabilities, and provided suggestions to strengthen against future security incidents.

Analyze recurring WAN outages

For a technology services firm we isolated the cause of recurring WAN outages. Once isolated, we recommended specific changes and implemented workarounds to alleviate the problem until a permanent solution could be assembled. We followed up with the CTO and IT Director, making sure the recommendations and changes were fully understood and that the outages were ultimately eliminated.

Increasing Resilience of Firewall

For an e-commerce business we helped them replace a failing firewall while bringing existing firewall software and configurations up to spec and adding redundancy. This included testing and planning out the change work and completing the integration during the maintenance windows. The result was the ability to get manufacturer support for the software and configuration, simplified future software updates (eliminating a complex upgrade process), activation of the originally intended redundant firewall design, access to functionality and bug fixes available only in the updated software and desired by the business, quick completion of the enhancements without hassle or additional staff workload, and minimal disruption to customers.

Analyze new market, business opportunity, and outline a strategy to enter the market

For an established technology service provider looking at entering a new market we analyzed the business opportunity along with adjacent areas and provided a strategy to enter the market along with a conceptual back-end technology platform to serve it, enabling the CEO to make an informed decision about how and whether to enter this market and where to best allocate resources.

Disaster recovery preparation

For a regional finance services firm we assisted in the enhancement of their disaster recovery preparation, including the design and implementation of new IP network pieces and locations to meet business and auditor requirements.

New enterprise phone / voices services solution

For an engineering firm we worked with the CTO to design a new phone / voice services solution, based around an open-source PBX switching platform, saving money and reducing dependence on a single vendor.

“Josh has helped us in many respects – he oversaw the installation of our network and IP telephone services when we moved into our new offices in October of 2007. Could not have done it w/o him. I should also note that his contacts in the industry were invaluable in getting everything up and running on time and as promised.”

Rye Syfan, Taylor & Syfan Consulting Engineers

Major network relocation and upgrade

For an engineering firm we helped them redesign their IP network while also relocating to a new headquarters, leading to a transition that was managed with a minimum of work disruption along with increased performance and new services.

ISPs/NSPs

We have worked with half a dozen or so local, regional, and international ISPs/NSPs over the years, assisting them with network architecture, peering strategy, operations, BGP, telecommunications analysis, pricing, launching new service offerings, WAN design, expanding infrastructure to accommodate growth and new business strategies, and troubleshooting performance problems.

Assisting Colleagues

Over the years we’ve provided specialized expertise, second opinions, and implementation assistance to a number of our colleagues (independent contractors, consultants, and technology service providers) who have sought out our help with perplexing issues, unusual situations, and large projects. A second set of eyes can often be helpful as well as additional labor for time sensitive matters or sizable projects.

In-Depth Network and Systems Analyses

For a number of organizations we have analyzed and documented their existing networks and server farms, permitting improved planning, training, and delegation, speeding up and reducing risk especially when making changes or working with 3rd-parties, to simplify auditor and compliance activities (PCI, HIPAA), to enable sensitive transitions, and to bring a fresh perspective to enhancement initiatives.

Additional Testimonials & Client Results

“Josh is a person that I respect, trust and admire. He has an ability often unseen in the Technology realm to think beyond what’s in front of him, beyond the systems and tasks, and see into the people and relationships around him. Josh is an asset to any organization or project that he chooses to play a role and I look forward to future work together.” 

Tim Williams, CEO and Founder, Digital West Networks

“Josh is professional, courteous and very very smart. His technical abilities/background are paramount and are highly recommended! Josh can oversee a project with grace, ease and professionalism. One project was upgrading our on premise server farm. This was done with the utmost concern of downtime and our business continuity! I would recommend Josh with all my powers as a small superhero in the technology/IT Cyber-security arena! Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, however all I will do is gloat on how amazing Josh is!”

Henry Danielson, Director of Technology, Coast Unified School District

“I have so appreciated the wisdom and perspective Josh has brought to our various technology initiatives. He had brought a level of professionalism and quality to our operations that we could not have done on our own.

He has been appropriately proactive and given me peace of mind knowing he is familiar with our operation. Indeed, when we had a catastrophic failure he was totally helpful and calmly got us back up and running.

His connections with other IT people on the Central Coast are also invaluable. He’s definitely someone you want to know and be known by if you are doing anything involving IT.

Michael McCreary, Owner, Vital Strategy Technology Services

“Josh Richards is the most competent network administrator I know with regards to Cisco networks, the innerworkings of TCP/IP and advanced Internet Connectivity implementations (IE. BGP)

Not only is he highly recommended for his technical abilities, but he communicates well. He was also very helpful and patient during my fledgling days in network administration.”

Josh Erdman, Owner/CTO, Digital Foundation

“Josh provided our company with excellent network consultation service, which was both flexible and timely in meeting our unique requirements. We will surely continue to utilize his expertise again.”

Darin McGuire, VP of Technology, Auspient

“Call America has hired Josh to work on complex projects and have been quite pleased with the results. We plan to use him again when his services are needed.

I have also recommended Josh to some of Call America’s more complex customers, and he has consistently done a great job for them. Josh is a very knowledgable Cisco person. I appreciate his expertise and enjoy working with him.”

Janice Petko, Director of Sales & Marketing, Call America

“Web Associates Inc. and I personally recommend Josh Richards and his business partners for any Cisco/Infrastructure related project you have, big or small. I have worked with Josh many times over the past two years, each time he has been a large asset to the project. His results and knowledge have made him very valuable consultant for Web Associates.”

Denver Coulter, Infrastructure Analyst, Web Associates/LEVEL Studios

“I have work with Josh on a number of large scale web hosting projects, he is extremely knowledgeable in regards to all aspects of internet technologies and infrastructure. Josh is highly accountable and very professional, he provides superior client service and is able to provide creative solutions when required. Please contact me for a detailed recommendation.”

Michael Boyer, VP of Operations, Web Associates/Rosetta

“Josh is without question the best consultant I’ve relied on over the years. His mastery of technology is matched with his ability to know what’s important to a business, get things done quickly, and provide as comprehensive explanation of his solutions as the end-user requires. I wouldn’t hesitate to use him again, and am comforted knowing that I have him as a resource should the need arise.”

Kirk Smith, Network Administrator, Dioptics Medical Products

“I first met Josh in 1995 when we were both volunteers at SLONET Regional information access. Later, in my role as General Manager of SLONET, I had the opportunity to work with Josh in a professional capacity. He was trustworthy and easy to work with. Josh understood our needs and always provided excellent service and effective solutions.”

Susan Coward, General Manager, SLONET Regional Information Access

“In desperate times of need, Josh has stepped in and been able to resolve my issues quickly. His vast knowledge and prompt response has saved my company countless times. I would highly recommend Josh to anyone seeking an IT Consultant.”

Jamison Carnevali, DevOps Engineer & Consultant, CenCoast Technology Solutions

“Josh is a true professional and demonstrated excellent customer service skills. During the requirements phase of the project his communication and solution recommendations were right on the mark. I would recommend Josh with complete confidence.”

Scott Frisby, VP of IT, TechXpress

How to Work With Us

  • We can only generate a proposal if we have a conversation with the primary decision maker who controls the budget for the work under consideration (we’re of course happy to connect with other members of the team as appropriate, but it’s a waste of everyone’s time if a decision maker isn’t present early on in the project discussions)
  • Send Josh a short (or long!) email or contact form request describing the situation a bit as you know it today, your rough envisioned timeline, your preferred contact method, and some good times to reach you by phone if deemed appropriate (this will all be kept confidential whether or not we choose to proceed together)

What to Expect

  • You will work directly with our principal, Josh Richards.